Help with introducing a Bantam to a flock and whether I should get more?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JadeH, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. JadeH

    JadeH Hatching

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    Oct 16, 2014
    Hello.
    I'm hoping someone might be able to offer me some advice. Over the past couple of months, my neighbour's black bantam would come over and hang around my place with my 3 chickens. I have 2 Rhode Island Reds and an Australorp. They're about 10-12 months old. I think the bantam is about the same age if not older. At first my chickens were a bit hostile but they've calmed a bit over time. My chickens free range in the day. On a couple of nights, the bantam would sleep in my coop.

    I found out that the bantam was alone because the rest of my neighbour's flock had died or been killed. That's why she kept coming over here. I adopted her and arranged a separate coop for her. But I only managed to put her in the separate coop on one night, after which she began following my flock into their coop to sleep.

    The Australorp is fine with her but the two Reds are a bit pecky. I've been monitoring it closely for the last 2 weeks that I've had her, and even though they pick on her especially when there's food around, luckily they're not causing any injury. The bantam is quite bold,some days she'll go wandering off alone for most of the day. And even though she's being picked on, in the end she seems to still want to hang around with the flock.

    I'm not sure what to do, whether over time they sort it out or whether I should get another bantam to try and even out the bullying. Although there's the risk that the 2 bantams may not get along, or if I was to get 2 more bantams there might be more bullying.

    I'd be appreciative of any advice anyone might be able to offer?

    Thank you
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

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    Hello and [​IMG]

    The chook has already been introduced to the flock and assimilated into it. I think things should settle down over time, hopefully. Adding another bantam, or any new chook, won't help, as a general rule of thumb, it makes another rung in the hierarchy ladder that needs to be contested with every other chook there. They won't automatically side with their own kind. So it would also fight with your current little banty, as well as with the bigger girls.

    In order to help social cohesion, a good rooster is pretty much unbeatable. But much depends on the individual characters of the chooks too, of course.

    I'd put low perches and obstacles around the edges of the cage so the banty can duck under them when being pecked, almost no bullies are willing to duck under an obstacle to pursue a victim into a corner of the cage, for some reason. I think it makes them feel vulnerable. Also, separate feed and water sources are important.

    If they're hurting her (even if they're not making her bleed externally, pecks can easily do fatal internal damage in very short order, especially to bantams) I'd use nailclippers for human fingernails and remove the seethrough edge off the upper beaks. It won't hurt them, unless you cut into the non-seethrough parts, and they will eat, drink, preen normally... But slamming the point of the beak into another chicken will produce a dull ache and dissuade them from doing so. Much like when you cut your nail too far, but don't bleed and don't feel pain --- until you try to apply serious force with that finger. The pain eases when you stop applying force. This also works for egg-eaters to help break the habit.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. nayeli

    nayeli Songster

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    Sounds like she is at the bottom of the pecking order. I would put multiple piles of food out to lessen them not letting her eat or attacking her when she tries to... obviously it seems like she is happier with the flock than without.
     
  4. JadeH

    JadeH Hatching

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    Oct 16, 2014
    Thank you both, really appreciative the helpful information! [​IMG]
     

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